If You Must Be Creative With Our Stories How About You Be Creative

So it happened, I woke up opened my book and began to read as I do almost every single day. Reading is what I do. I consider myself more than anything to be a connoisseur of books. Sometime during the trips of my eyes from left to right across the page of my current read I got that feeling. The one I get where I know that I won’t be able to continue reading the book without doing a little research.

I tell myself not to. To at least wait until I’ve completed the book and have a true opinion about the story before I go internet diving for clues. But I don’t. 7.5 minutes later I’m looking into the face of a white appearing woman or man, standing next to their white appearing spouse, with their white appearing children in their suburban or gentrified ass white appearing neighborhood.

I know as you read those words you’re probably coming to conclusions so I should say here, I am not angry. If I am anything I’m bored.

images-4.jpeg

I’m not angry that a white appearing person has written yet another bestselling YA novel about yet another African American teenager. Nor, that they have taken liberties with this teenagers life and given them the crackhead parent, the absent parent, the problems in school, the job that they HAVE to work in order to contribute to their family because of the crackhead or absent parent.

But, as I continue to do research on this person: looking up their parents, researching their childhoods, the cities they were born in, thinking maybe just maybe their best friend was black, looking for stories in which they describe where they got the idea for this story, looking for anything to help me feel better about the fact that yet another of our stories is being told by other people while we’re still not given the equal opportunities to tell our own; I do get a little annoyed.

images-5.jpeg

See, as a writer I know that we have the creative license to write whatever we want about whatever we want however we want and that we don’t just have to tell the stories that we know. But, as I look at how stereotypes are developed and perpetuated and have been perpetuated for years and years I can’t help but wonder why a person who took ALL of the creative license with a story would continue to write these lazy stereotype ladden stories.

When I read a story about these issues that do in fact exist for some black people written by a black person I know that most likely they have experienced these issues or that the issues are at the very least in their orbit. But, when these stories are written by white appearing people I can’t help but question why if they felt the need to write about black people, why they didn’t use their creative license to write about magical black girls or as Danez Smif requests black boys playing with dinosaurs in the hood. 

Social Media airways, news and media outlets for once in our history are being flooded with Magical Black Girls and Black Boy Joy and  Black Super Heroes and yet television, movies, and books are still full of the same stereotypical stories about food stamp dependent, thugged out, drug abusing black people.

There will always be these stories to be told like their will always be a new movie about slavery. So, I’m not asking white people to not write stories about black people. I’m asking them to give us the whole stories. Like they do for white people. I’ve yet to read a story about a white crackhead teenager without being informed that she was a jock who broke her leg, had surgery, was placed on oxycodone, and became addicted. They’re humanized. So can we be humanized in these stereotypical redundant ass stories? I’m just asking  if you must be creative with our stories then how about you be creative or at the very least, tell the whole story.

 

This Is How You Lose Readers

In the wake of the #MeToo movement it seems like on a weekly basis we are being informed that another beloved person is a predator. Some have had rumors about their behaviors floating around for years like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, who although they’ve only recently had to answer for their crimes,  knowledge of their abusive ways have been widely known for many many years.

Unlike them, others like Kevin Spacey, have rocked the world and shocked their fans. Today, I log on to the internet and I see that there are some internet drama surrounding Junot Díaz. Firstly, I wasn’t going to read up on it I’m literally in the middle of rereading The Brief  Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Secondly, Junot Díaz is one of the first writers who made me; a dark skinned black woman, feel both seen and beautiful.

But, like with most train wrecks no matter how much you want to avert your gaze you have to look. It’s almost as if you have no control over the way your neck moves. So with that same trepidation I typed *Junot Díaz Sex Scandal* into my search bar and was rewarded (this is not a reward) with the following article: Junot Diaz Sex Scandal.

I refuse to look into this any further and I’m officially throwing Oscar Wao out of the window. I know that there are questions about whether we continue to throw people away for bad behavior or not, but unlike people who question those sorts of things *insert fierce side eye* I have an iron clad no predator clause on my entertainment intake calendar. All that I can do now is seriously pray that Stephen King has kept his paws to himself. And no I’m not googling it. I don’t want to know until I have to.

 

Faultlines: Whoops I Didn’t See That Coming

One moment in Jordan Cline’s life tears his entire family apart. He and his cousin Travis have been in a tragic accident. All three of the car’s occupants were terribly injured but what happened? Jordan may go to prison for thirty years because although he says that he was not driving all of the witnesses and all of the evidence point directly towards Jordy. And no one believes him except for his mother. Of course, mother’s never want to believe that their children are capable of terrible things.

Faultlines takes us along for the wild ride that Jordan and his mother’s life are on after the accident. Was Jordan drinking and driving?  If he wasn’t then why is the town hero Officer Huck out to destroy Jordan’s life? Barbara Taylor Sissal has written a mystery that keeps the reader guessing the entire time.

I loved Faultlines, the way that it unfolds kept me engaged and rooting for Jordy and Sandy. I kept wanting him to be innocent even when all of the signs pointed to his guilt. Oh and the climax… I DID NOT see THAT climax coming. I was literally sitting there staring at the book with my mouth wide open.

200-3.gif

Also, That small town attitude that the story describes is XACTLY why I love living in the city. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I gave this story 4 stars and would gladly read another book from this author.

 

Corner Dweller- The Buried Book

I haven’t thrown a book in the corner for quite a while but The Buried Book by D.M. Pulley is going straight into the corner. I would also like them to repay me my time and make my brain stop hurting.

200-2.gif

The story isn’t bad per se… but the characters just got on my last nerve. Uhhhh I guess I should tell you what the story is about before I discuss characters so here goes:

 

spoiler alert.gif

Jasper’s mom Althea drops him off at her brother’s farm to live. She  leaves him there with nothing but a suitcase and a bible. She doesn’t give anyone a real reason for her abandoning Jasper. She’s apparently left him in the past but never for this many days so Jasper begins to worry. He overhears the adults talking about her and figures that she must be in trouble so  Jasper goes on a hunt for his mother putting himself in frequent danger. The entire story is one boringly outlandish incident after another as Jasper, a nine year old boy, hunts for his mother alone

Unknown-1.jpeg.

While on this hunt Jasper finds her childhood journal which he uses for clues to where she may be. He finds himself on Indian Reservations, at bars, and strip clubs during his hunt. The story is outlandish and Jasper’s frequent crying and injuries just add to the outlandishness of the story. You set fire to the barn and burned a house down and didn’t get your ass whooped once from your terrifying christian farmer uncle?- I think not.

I struggle to give this story 2 stars but I managed to eek them out since I completed the book and cared enough about the characters to make it to the end. I do like D.M. Pulley so I’m going to consider this story a fluke…

EDIT: I lied up above where I said that I like D.M. Pulley. When I went to add this title to The Book Corner I see that the last book that I added to that list was The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley. My bad. I shall now avoid D.M. Pulley like I avoid people with unvaccinated children. *Kayne Shrug*

Randomosity 1.15.17

My right hand is itching. According to my grandma that means that I’m going to get some unexpected money. I’m all about that life.

Last night  I gave the Mohegan Sun 6 x more money than I’d budgeted. I’d do it all over again to sit next to my grandma, listen to her throw shade, and laugh at the world. Operation come to CT at least every other month is shaping up to be the best money and time I’ve ever spent.

I’ve worked most of the time that I’ve been in CT. At my grandma’s dining room table while watching her shows and laughing at her antics. As difficult as it is being an entrepreneur, being in charge of my time is worth all of the stress and early mornings.

Yesterday was my publisher’s monthly conference call. I leave those calls knowing that I chose the right publishing house and grateful that they chose me.

The next book that I publish I’m hiring a social media manager. I know that I am in my own way as far as promoting my book is concerned. The nerves that come with the creation of each post are worse than the ones I felt when I used to slam in competitions.

Decisions are made by those who show up.

Every time I’m around a bunch of children I remember that one is enough. I have no idea how people have more than one. I give people with a bunch of kids all of the kudos. And wine subscriptions. I’m sure they need wine more than they need diapers.

2017 is shaping up to be the best year of my life. #ClaimingIt
My book is being released on January 27th. That’s legit less than two weeks away. You can preorder it here: Vital Narrative Press

Looking For Alaska: Quick Book Review

I’ve been reading Looking For Alaska by John Green for a few weeks. It took me longer than usual because it wasn’t one of those books where you just can’t put it down. For most of the story the characters were likable enough but I just didn’t really care about them. Until tragedy struck. For that reason I gave it 3 Stars.
 The story is good. Not extraordinary… Just good. Like a cup of cool water on a hot summer’s day. It’ll do. It just doesn’t knock your socks off.
Looking for Alaska has great writing, a good story line, and funny dialogue between a group of teens trying to find themselves at a boarding school. 
 
I read YA novels frequently but for a moment while reading this book I was annoyed and began judging  these teenagers for being teenagers until I remembered that when I was a teenager I did most of the same things that they did in this book when I lived on Campus at my school. *shrugs* #NoJudging
 
#SpoilerAlert John Green is going to make you cry in this book. Not as bad as The Fault in Our Stars but you’ll definitely shed a few tears.
images.jpg 

Diversity Must Start At Home

Currently there is a lot of attention being paid to the lack of diversity in the Tim Burton directed Ms. Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. As a constant reader I have read and enjoyed these books for years and was not surprised at the lack of brown faces on the screen. There aren’t any people of color in the books. Why? One would have to ask the writer. The stories are fictional books about children who do everything from be invisible,  float, eat through a second mouth in the back of their heads, to emit fire from their hands; surely with an imagination that can create these characters some of them could have easily been a shade of brown.

Even more astonishing; the novels are set in a fictional version of Wales. Where is Wales? The United Kingdom. Are there black people in the Wales, UK? Yup. For the record black and brown people are everywhere.

So if this is true and people write what they know then why is there such an abysmal lack of diversity in books, movies, and television. Why is there always only one black person or Asian person included in these settings? And then why are those people usually comic relief or the villain? (See there’s a black person. And some potentially brown people. Their villains.)miss-peregrines-home-for-peculiar-children-poster-banner

 

Simple: The people who get chosen to write movies- the directors, casting agents, financiers, decision makers, screen play writers-the authors who get chosen to have their novels first published and then made into movies; are usually white. Are usually male and they were usually raised in a home in a place with at best one black family or one Asian family-with one other family. Thus we end up with a world whose entertainment is written by people who don’t know how to write other because they don’t know other.

As long as white people continue to love segregation (Thirty years after the civil rights era, the United States remains a residentially segregated society in which blacks and whites still often inhabit vastly different neighborhoods.) the lack of diversity in their lives, the lives chosen so frequently to be portrayed in the media- will continue to exist. Thus the lack of diversity in media will continue to exist.

How do we fix this? Simple: We give publishing contracts and publish books written by POC. We hire POC directors,screenwriters, casting agents, financiers, and decision makers. Who will then hire POC talent. But As long as a small segment of the people continue to be in control the rest of us will always be left out.

Oh and if you’re wondering if I’ll watch the movie, I will. I’ll just wait until it comes out on Netflix. I’m the best silent protester I know. Don’t include me? Cool. But you won’t be getting my money.

 

Damn Joe, We Were All Depending on You: I Hated The Fireman

This week I completed Joe Hill’s The Fireman.

imgres.jpg

I hated it. I hated the characters and how weak they were. How stupid they were. How mean and evil they were. The writing is good because: Joe Hill aka Stephen King is his daddy. How could he write bad. But uh…

 

giphy.gif

If I hadn’t read some of his other stuff like:

imgres.jpg

which was AMAZING, I would never read him again.

That’s how pissed off these characters made me.I read this book in full on yell at the book mode. Some of the things that happened in this book were Straight up lets have sex while Jason is at the window, stupid.

 

Like: No, don’t go that way. Don’t drink that!! Hurry up!!! Why are you staying there they’re going to kill your baby??!

tumblr_n3bvxdbg7b1sl0m4zo1_500.gif

 

 

If this book were a movie I would tell Lisa Puckett ( my peach biffle) that her people needed to sue because of they way that they were portrayed in it.

I gave it:

🌟🌟

Very generous stars.
Read at your own risk because I definitely threw this book in the corner.

Oh yeah; I know he’s getting rave reviews and this book just made the New York Times Bestsellers List *shrugs*

Me Before You: A Lesson in Heartbreak

Unknown.jpeg

As a constant reader your heart will be broken frequently. If you’ve been reading the way that I have been; constantly since I was four years old, then you are attuned to the impending heartbreak of a novel, usually from the moment that you open the book.

So when I opened Me Before You and met Lou I knew without a doubt that I was going to have my heart broken… splintered into a thousand teeny tiny pieces and I craved that heartbreak. Because the only way that my heart wouldn’t become broken would have been if the writer took the easy way out and made this story into one of those cliched, dreaded happy ending novels. You know the ones: girl meets assholish boy, girl changes/accepts boys assholish ways, and they live happily ever after.

Jojo Moyes does not disappoint. She has written a thoroughly researched novel about heartbreak, pain, love, and the transformation that all of these things will cause in a human’s life.

I know, I know, I’ve waxed on poetically and I haven’t even told you what the book is about. Probably because, I couldn’t describe it adequately in my current blubbery state but Goodreads does an amazing job:

“Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time. ”

And oh how they change. The journey that they take along their transformation is both annoying (because seriously Lou stop being so damned self involved. and Really Will you don’t have to be such an asshole all of the time) and amazing (when you realize that Will is the first person who’s ever really seen Lou your heart will stop) and I enjoyed every second of it.

You will see this book touted as a love story, it isn’t. It is in fact a social commentary on euthananasia, quality of life, and whether someone should be able to decide for themselves what they should or should not do about their life if they are unhappy with it. It is also an example of what happens when one becomes stuck in  a certain lifestyle out of necessity and what can happen when one’s status quo abruptly changes.

As a nurse I struggled with the euthanasia subject because I have met people who have zero quality of life and are absolutely miserable, who are kept alive because someone loves them enough to think that they should be kept alive by any means necessary. And I’ve stated to myself and my co-workers how selfish those people are. BUT usually those people are older or not cognitively there. To be forced to face my prejudices on this subject with a young person who is fully there cognitively was such a great lesson for me.

There are a few areas where the author used her creative license ie: Louisa being hired to be someone’s companion even though she has no experience, the issues that Lou and her family have (two adult children arguing over clothes and who gets the bigger bed) but to me those things added to the story. Also my mother’s fully grown children still climb into her bed and are selfish as hell so *shrugs* I won’t ding her for those as I have seen others do. Besides if Louisa would have been the appropriate choice for the job Will would have never let her get so close to him and the story wouldn’t have progressed so I’m glad that he was the reason behind her growth.

For the first time in a long time I have used all of my stars and rated Me Before You 5 Stars!! ALL 5 of EM!

IMG_0846.JPG

If you’ve read it let me know if you loved it as much as I did in the comments. Especially if you’re a caretaker, nurse, or a person with disabilities. (I think she did a pretty good job of describing all of the BS people with disabilities go through but even though I’m a nurse I’m an AB so I’m not an authority on this. )

Oh and Spoiler ALERT! There is a movie adaptation coming out on June 3rd and it looks sooooo good. Check out the trailer here: Me Before You and remember to  #LiveBoldly